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Poisonous mushrooms could be taking root in your own backyard

Posted at 7:08 PM, Jan 06, 2020

Mushrooms are popping up along the Central Coast following the recent rains and they're bringing up concerns once again for people and pets.

The fungi are taking root in local fields and parks, which has led some to be extra cautious.

"There is a lot of things dogs can get into that can make them ill. So I think that as a good dog owner, you need to watch what your dog is doing, you can't just check out," said Sheri Kosh, resident of Cambria.

Owner and veterinarian of Animal Care Clinic in San Luis Obispo Dr. Bonnie Markoff said there have not been many incidents of owners bringing their pets into the clinic for eating or licking the poisonous death cap mushroom yet, but she said they are seeing the mushroom's presence on the Central Coast.

"If you are not 100 percent sure that the mushroom is safe, consider it deadly. Just the slightest ingestion can lead to severe disease and outward signs won't start for six to 24 hours," said Markoff.

Death cap mushrooms can be lethal for both humans and animals.

According to Markoff, the mushroom will cause symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting in dogs, but it can also lead to acute and severe liver failure.

"It is really as simple as watching your dog and don't let your dog consume mushrooms. If you are in an area where there might be mushrooms growing, the big alert is oak trees," said Markoff.

Death caps will give off a fishy type of smell which is what attracts dogs to them.

Typically, the mushrooms will grow at the base of oak trees, but they have also been seen growing at the base of pine trees.

Veterinarians encourage pet owners to keep your pets on a leash until you know the area is safe and free of any poisonous mushrooms.

If you suspect your animal did ingest a death cap mushroom, local vets encourage you to rush your animal to the clinic.

If you can, they say it is also beneficial if you can take a sample of the mushroom stock your pet ate to help with the identification process, but make sure to wear gloves and not touch it with your bare skin.